Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Glucose Tests and Baby Toys

Yesterday I had a glucose test and a regular appointment with my midwife (appts. are once every two weeks now!- exciting). for the glucose test I had to eat one apple, two teaspoons of honey, and 4oz of apple juice an hour before. Boy was that sweet. I think that I could live the rest of my life without having that combination in my system again. Little LJ like it though. He was dancing all around inside me and when the midwife checked the heartbeat, he was much faster than usual. This was a friendly warning to watch my sugar! (oh and everyone has to be tested for diabetes, it is not that I am suspected of having it.) I get the results next week.

Along the lines of my earlier post about baby gear recommendations, I came across a good article. This made me feel more at peace with things:

From "The Parent Trap"

How have toys changed in the last 20 years ?
Hugely. When you think back to the '60s and '70s, all the right-thinking progressive parents thought toys should be natural and open-ended. Crayola and Kinder Blocks and Lego were considered raise-your-kid-smart toys. Then, all this data that came out which said that kids need to be stimulated. They need sound! They need multi-sensory experiences! Now, the more bells and whistles a toy has, the supposedly better it is.

Our parents' generation actually had it right. The less the toy does, the better. Everyone thinks: "Toys need to be interactive." No, toys don't need to be interactive. Children need to interact with toys. The best toys are 90 percent kid, 10 percent toy, the kind of thing that you can use 20 different ways, not because it has 20 different buttons to press, but because the kid, when they're 6 months old is going to chew on it, and toss it, but when they're a year they're going to start stacking it.

I think everyone can remember how fun it was when their parents bought a new TV or other large appliance and gave you the box to play with. My sister and I turned an old TV box into a life-size playhouse- we cut out windows and a door, and even taped up curtains for decoration. Some friends of ours had a nice store-bought playhouse, but ours was of our own creation.

Creativity and a healthy imagination are really what is lost with a bunch of gadgety toys that stimulate all the senses. And these are things that come most naturally when you are a kid. I am going to try not to spoil that in raising our little guy, though the temptations are everywhere. (This is what I say now- pre actually having a little one. We'll see what happens when I get really tired or feel out of options. I have to shoot for my ideal though, don't I? I can't resign before anything has even happened)***

I myself, want to be stimulated instead of creating things for myself. It is easier. This past year, I made a bit of a resolution to read more and watch things like DVD's less. I missed getting caught up into a story, imagining characters instead of seeing them as a film producer saw them. I don't think movies are bad, but I know that they can allow me to be more passive. So far it has been very rewarding too. I think I am an 18th and 19th century English novel fan most of all.

*** A little rant I suppose because from cloth diapering to using a midwife, etc... has been met with several naysayers and pessimists. I obviously don't know as much as an experienced parent because I am not, but I must have a plan A to begin with. And, I will never be this young or this free to try things again.


Anonymous said...

You go girl! And yes I am like-minded on the plaything field. I always thought it much better when kids have to think of what to do with something. My kids had the most fun with things like a pile of wood and a box of nails or a shovel and room to dig. It is wonderful to see them learn to use their little brains!

Anonymous said...

I remember when we had bought a new range, that we had the old one setting on the side patio. Ben & Nathan took out the grates and somehow climbed inside. Bethany, then about 3, came running into the house crying saying that the boys were going to blast off to the moon and we were never going to see them again! And there were also old wooden pallets, and a sand box, that with supplies from Papa Paxton became a fort and a swimming pool. And all 3 of our kids are very creative! Simple stuff, simple fun. I think you are on the right track. Papa J.

Jim said...

Well well back in the day.. When you had to use your gray and white matter, when you had to build your own scooters and club houses learn to count your own hard earned money by doing chores for other people, but I guess that was the old days.

Jen said...

I agree about the imaginative, active toys and play. (Although, as you say, there are moments when a mom will take a needed break and be quite grateful for the flashing, noise-making variety.)

The other half of the truth, though, that is not addressed in the "parent trap" article, is that kids really DO need auditory and multi-sensory stimulation. But they need it from live interaction with loving caregivers, not battery-operated toys.

Babies need to be held, swayed, rocked, bounced, caressed, smiled and cooed at, sung to, and spoken to hours and hours each day. No toy can replace loving embraces and face time with Mom and Dad.

It's not that the "new" data (that kids need sound and multi-sensory stimulation) is wrong. It's just that toys have become a way for parents to beg off from being attentively with their children so that they can instead do their own thing.

Toy makers make what sells, and convenience sells.